Inequalities in child welfare intervention rates

This is a mixed-methods comparative study across the four UK countries, aimed at mapping and understanding inequalities in child welfare intervention rates. It extends and tests findings of a recent Nuffield-funded pilot study in the English midlands, which indicated that, not only were children living in deprived areas more likely to be on a child protection plan or looked after by the state, but also that a child living in a more affluent locality was more likely to get help from social services than a similar child living in a less affluent locality. It is not yet known whether this is because the ‘threshold for care’ is lower in affluent areas, or because those services have greater capacity to make (and resource) appropriate decisions, or both. Gaining insight on this question is a key aim of this work.

The project’s quantitative element involves analysing data on child welfare cases and interventions in a representative sample of UK local authorities. This will be complemented by  qualitative case studies in sixteen localities, focused on testing possible explanations for the observed patterns in intervention rates.

In addition to producing substantive findings to inform future policy, practice and research development, the project will establish a methodology for comparing social care data in the four UK countries and build capacity for further work in this area.

Coventry University's project page
Coventry University Child Welfare Intervention Project Outputs Page (includes blogs for the Family Potential Research Centre, an evidence review and the quantitative reports for each UK country as well as the papers below).

Exploring inequities in child welfare and child protection services: Explaining the ‘inverse intervention law’, Children and Youth Services Review, September 2015

Identifying and understanding inequalities in child welfare intervention rates: comparative studies in four UK countries.  Briefing Paper 1: England   Professor Paul Bywaters (lead) 2017

Briefing Paper 2: UK Four Country Quantitative Comparison   Professor Paul Bywaters (lead) 2017

Briefing Paper 3: Case Study Findings  Professor Paul Bywaters (lead) 2017

Briefing Paper 4: Scotland  Professor Paul Bywaters (lead) 2017

What the looked-after children statistics don't tell us  Paul Bywaters, Community Care, October 2017

Trends in child protection across the UK: a comparative analysis  Lisa Bunting, Claire McCartan, Janice McGhee, Paul Bywaters, Brigid Daniel, Brid Featherstone, Tom Slater, BJSW, October 2017

Looking after children in the UK: convergence or divergence?  Janice McGhee, Claire McCartan, Martin Elliott, Paul Bywaters, Brid Featherstone, BJSW, October 2017

Child protection in England, an emerging inequalities perspective  Paul Bywaters, Tim Sparks, Journal of Children's Services, 2017

Poverty, inequality, child abuse and neglect: changing the conversation across the UK in child protection?  Brid Featherstone, Kate Morris, Brigid Daniel, Paul Bywaters, Geralding Brady, Lisa Bunting, Will Mason, Nughmana Mirsa, Children and Youth Services Review, June 2017

The relationship between poverty, child abuse and neglect: an evidence review  Paul Bywaters, Lisa Bunting, Gavin Davidson, Jennifer Hanratty, Will Mason, Claire McCartan, Nicole Steils   JRF, March 2016